As promised last week, today’s post has been written by my lovely fiance. He’ll be recapping his experience running the LA Marathon, including all the highs and lows of the day. Enjoy!
So as you read on Friday, I was the lucky one to run the ASICS LA Marathon. And boy, what an experience it was. You see, I’ve run cross country and track from 6th grade all the way through college. Some people would say that’s impressive; I say I picked up soccer too late and was too small for football. But I digress.
With that background, I’m usually confident in my running abilities to do most races. I’ve done a few half marathons, numerous 5Ks, and other random races sprinkled in for flavor but never a marathon. I guess you could say I trained for this race. For my birthday this year, I ran 27 miles for 27 years – yea…that sucked. But still, I figured I had a good base for the real thing. My training basically consisted of 5-ish miles per day at lunch during the work week. Then 12-15 miles on Saturday and Sunday. I mean, I thought if I trained for less than half of the real race, I’d be good, right? Let me tell you, that’s not how this works…
In all seriousness, when I did 12 miles on hills, I felt great. What’s 14.2 more? Okay, I was a tiny bit concerned, but talking to one person on the Friday before the race, she said her longest run was only 12 miles, so then I felt confident I could do it. Not to mention the race was flat/downhill 90% of the time.
That brings us to race day. The race’s motto is “From the Stadium to the Sea” because it starts out at Dodger Stadium, which pained me. As a Chicago Cubs fan, I hate the Dodgers because of reasons. However, ASICS hooked us up with a private suite for the VIPs, so that made it less painful. We were able to relax in style, have a few bananas, and use private bathrooms – I thought…so this is how the other half lives? I like it.
The best part of it all? The private bathrooms. Yes, there was a little wait for the men’s room, but it beat out the line for the port-o-potties outside. As much as I don’t like the Dodgers, I will say the stadium was a great backdrop to the start of the race.
After the elite runners and wheel chairs went off, they started the legacy runners. These are runners that have run all 30 LA Marathons. There were about 112 of them, and every single one of them is a baller. They had special bibs on their back that said “Legacy Bob” or “Legacy Mary”, and as people passed them in the race, everyone cheered them on. These are people who are 50+ (at the youngest), who are much much tougher than me. Every time I passed one of them, this was my only thought:
As the race started, Kate was waiting at the VIP viewing area. I could see her, but she missed me.
How could she miss me?!?! I was the one in the neon green. No, not that guy, the other neon green. No, not that one either. Ok, so neon green is not the best color to wear during a race because everyone wears it.
We weren’t even off the Dodger Stadium property when I looked over and saw a wall of men going to the bathroom in the bushes – thought that was an interesting site about .2 miles into a marathon. Once we got onto the streets of LA (about 1/2 mile in) we came across a bunch of port-o-potties with a line about 20 deep. Ahhhhh. Now I get it.
Normally, I do not like LA. The traffic, the smog, the Lakers – I hate it all. However, the citizens along the course really came together to support all 26,000 runners. We started off in China Town, running past Chinese Dragons and drummers. Random people and shop keepers stood outside cheering. I was not near the front; I started about 10 minutes after the gun went off, so I don’t know how long these people stood outside, but it was wonderful. Every runner out there needed that support by the end. Most appeared to be looking for loved ones, but many were just people who lived by the race course and wanted to cheer.
If you’ve ever been to LA, you know there are…interesting…sites everywhere. The marathon was no different because there were a lot of unique characters around. After we left China Town we were…in a different part of LA ( OK, so I don’t know LA geography) . But people were setting up their own aid stations, which was great! The race had water/Gatorade every mile. Lots of stores were there handing out water, bananas, oranges, or whatever the runners needed. Some people were out there handing out things runners didn’t need, like chili cheese hotdogs, beer, and (I kid you not) free hugs. I liked the effort and wanted all the things…but not during my first marathon. I also learned there are only 3 original marathon signs: “Go Faster! (that’s what she said)”, “Who needs toenails?”, and “Smile if you peed a little. Frown if you pooped a lot”. They were funny in the beginning…but after seeing them every mile for 26 miles, they weren’t as exciting. My two favorites were a little kid’s sign saying “Run faster! My arms are tired!” and “Hurry up! The Kenyans are drinking all the beer!”. Well done, sign makers. Well done.
The race took us through some very historic parts of LA: like the Walk of Fame, the Chinese Theater, and even the Hollywood sign. We ran down Hollywood Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd. Yes, I did have that Sheryl Crow song playing in my head, despite listening to my own music. If you want it stuck in your head too, click here!!
Like all runners, I hit the wall. Hard. Around mile 20 is when it really punch me in the face. I walked all the water stations because I haven’t mastered the whole ‘running and drinking’ thing. I usually end up water-boarding myself. But after 20, I had to walk between stations. I even *gasp* sat down and stretched my hips. I kept trying to tell myself the advice the elite runners told us (and that Kate mentioned on Friday) like “Choose positivity”. I kept telling myself that all the other runners around me are struggling too! Yea, that didn’t work. When I run, I’m fueled by anger and rage. I hate everyone and everything around me. So the more I told myself positive things, the more angry I actually became.
Eventually, I made it to the home stretch. I saw the finish line .9 mile away (yes, I measured it). Whatever strength I had, I used to shuffle to that finish line. It was so beautiful
I found Katie right away, and the first words out of my mouth: “Never Again”.
But look at that swag:
I finished at around 4 hours, 12 minutes and change. I think that averages out to just over 8:30 miles. Not bad for 86-degree heat, a GPS watch that didn’t work (oh yea! forgot about that), and nothing but contempt the last mile. Within 20 minutes of finishing, I was stretching, rolling out my muscles, and having a victory beer. Want to know my post race recovery meal was?
Because why not.
Despite my anger, it was an amazing experience. I want to thank ASICS for setting this up for us. Although I will likely never do this again, I wouldn’t mind doing another half marathon or so. Anyone want to split this race next year??? February 14, 2016!